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In Rare SDNY In Person Proceeding Larry White Fires Lawyer and Vacates Arson Plea

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon
BBC - Guardian UK - Honduras - The Source

SDNY COURTHOUSE, July 20 – Larry White pled guilty on November 5, 2019 to conspiracy to commit arson and robbery, before U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge Jed S. Rakoff. He was to be sentenced on March 11, 2020.  

 Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and the sentencing was postponed. On June 26, White wrote to Judge Rakoff seeking to withdraw his plea, saying that his assigned lawyer Daniel S. Parker had coerced him into pleading guilty, and alleging prosecutorial misconduct.  

 While nearly all SDNY proceeding remain by phone or video, Judge Rakoff scheduled an in-person proceeding for July 20. Inner City Press attended it to report on it.

   Larry White was in the jury box with two U.S. Marshals. There were a half dozen family members and supporters in the gallery, along with Inner City Press. Three Court Security Officer were also present. 

  Judge Rakoff entered; his deputy told all present to keep their masks on. Another Criminal Justice Act lawyer was present, to take over for Mr. Parker. But White said he will henceforth pay a lawyer, Robert Walters. 

 Judge Rakoff asked, Why is he not here?   White replied, He didn't want to take money until you withdrew my plea.    Judge Rakoff told White that CJA lawyers are often better than those retained in such circumstances.

There was grumbling from the gallery, and Inner City Press recalled a case it has reported on, US v. Michael Jones before SDNY Judge Koeltl, where a non-CJA lawyer prevailed to the extended that Jones was recently released from the MDC. 

 Judge Rakoff gave White / Walters until July 24 to file a notice of appearance, then to pick a date for a trial, which he said he is looking forward to. Inner City Press intends to cover this ongoing case. It is US v. White, 19-cr-277 (Rakoff)

 On the way out, at least one family member said, loudly, Black Lives Matter.


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